Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Trouser toile fitting aka fitting of pant muslin

Rory was ill last week so our intended fitting session didn't take place.

This was due to be the first fitting session. Prior to that,  I had ‘hacked’ a pattern from a pair of RTW trousers (pants) that didn't fit ‘too badly’ and Dan marked the leg alterations required. The legs sat with far too much fabric at one side and not enough at the other. Rory said we'd work on these rather than the Palmer Pletsch pants we were originally going to use. See earlier post.

I made the changes to the pattern. These changes altered the leg angle. At home,  I finalised the pattern - I added to the back crotch point (this was an ‘in case’ amount, as requested). I increased crotch depth as the pattern was too short.  I added still more to the back rise. I added extra large seam allowances. Then I made up a toile (muslin). I've already said how unhappy I was with this toile and its ‘helter skelter’ legs. The toile seemed to me worse than my original. I could have,  did,  wear the original. Worse, too, the inner seam lengths didn't match. How did that happen?

So today was the first time for Rory to see the toile and she was expecting the worst. She didn't think it was that bad.

I have a couple of photos but some of the alterations were a bit too personal for me to post on the internet!!

Rory got me to try on the trousers. She smoothed out and identified the grain to ensure it was lying down the middle of my leg. She marked this and the perpendicular line,  to ensure it didn't slip while she was working on it.  A lot of the fitting is about ensuring the grain lies correctly.

The following were the changes:
Darts added - minor
Excess fabric at hip smoothed out - minor
Some tucks of excess fabric pinned out - major
Alterations (a few) to crotch point, done in increments - major.This was the bulk of the work. Back crotch point dropped and shortened. Front crotch point further lengthened. Pouff of fabric at from crotch pinned out.
When Rory took out the stitching of the inner seam, which hadn't matched in length,  it now matched!

Rory stitched the changes in place and I tried on the trousers again. Now they were sitting much higher. Just high enough at the back but too long at the front. Rory marked my waistline while I was wearing 1” elastic.
You can see waistline is scarcely long enough at the back.
Darts have been pinned in but there are issues around the crotch area

Helter skelter legs - Rory pinned out the inside leg - there was too much fabric here. At the outer seam, the back curved round from mid thigh to the front of my ankle. At least,  that was originally but it was much better after the crotch alterations. Rory marked where the seam should lie and we cut up that line when we were ready to alter the pattern.

We took the toile apart and transferred the changes (stitching lines) to the pattern. I then added 1.5 cm (⅝”) seam allowances. This is quite a big seam allowance as Rory usually works with 1 cm but this gives a little flexibility in a toile and I confess that I quite like this size as so many of the commercial patterns have this. I had to add paper to parts and cut away at other parts.

I previously thought some of the adjustments made to the pattern had been too large,  going on the ‘little adjustments make big changes’ or just a little change at a time. These changes confirmed that, as some of the previous adjustments were partly undone. Previously,  fabric needed added and it's always difficult to judge how much - much easier to take away.

I have shown some rather poor photos of the pattern changes as I was asked to do that by a couple of people. Unfortunately, they are poor. I don't have photos in progress - there is a lot to do in a relatively short time, so I didn't get a chance.
Front leg outseam alteration - original 1, modified 2 and now 3; I can't find the photo of the modifications to the back leg 

Back crotch - original 1, modified 2 and now 3

Poor selfie in mirror. Pre alterations.
You can see the outseam coming around to the front, extra fabric in the inside and the pouching at the bottom of the fly.
This is the only photo I have that shows the excess needing removed at the front waistband.
Front crotch modification
To be removed

It's difficult to see the changes I've made here.

Rory checked the grainline on the pattern. This had been my major concern after the last set of adjustments as the grainline seemed so much at an angle. I'm glad to say it has much improved!

Rory advised me on the fabric to buy for my trousers - she suggested serge and have me a sample of dicoutil(?) serge which is lovely so I'll try and get some from Fabworks at the weekend when I visit Dewsbury for a Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up.

We also discussed style. I had thought that perhaps I need a waistband. Rory suggested a facing. I do like a facing! I decided to miss out the pockets (jetted) at this stage as their position has altered so much. Then I reckoned I would have a side zip rather than a fly front in the first instance. I want to make lots of different styles if I get the pattern correct!! So I'll keep the first basic.

First,  though, I'll true the pattern and make another toile. I'll be seeing Rory for what is hopefully the final fitting next week.


  1. I enjoy seeing your progress. I am a smudge jealous because this is an amazing process that I would love to learn also.

    1. Thank you, Annie. I'm hopeful that I am actually making progress now. Next week will tell!

  2. Trouser fitting does take time. My early ones were dreadful, so you are doing well. Once you have a feel for what is needed, it becomes easier.

    1. Thank you, Sarah Liz. It has taken me quite a while to get here - I'm hoping 'here' is in a positive place! I do have a much better sense of the process. Not enough yet to make some of the changes that were made yesterday but getting there, I think. I'm feeling hopeful.


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